A well-regulated rental market is what makes the UK one of the best places in the world to be both a landlord and a tenant; tenants don’t live in fear of being evicted at a moment’s notice, or faced with crippling rent increases; landlords don’t live in fear of having their ownership contested or unreasonable taxes being levied on their property. The downside is that it’s all too easy for landlords to be tripped up by these same protective regulations, especially in a progressive legal framework that is constantly adapting to address changing concerns, so how can landlords in the UK stay compliant?
Fear not, there are a range of online tools to help landlords remain compliant and avoid investment destroying fines.
According to Section 22 of the Immigration Act of 2014, someone will have the right to rent in the UK provided they are lawfully present in accordance with immigration laws.
Arthur Online’s property management software can help if you be compliant with Section 22, particularly if you’re renting to foreign tenants. The cloud-based landlord management platform allows you to store your tenant’s ID and proof of citizenship. Any information can be saved, including visas, personal documents and ID photos. You can even be reminded of visa expiry dates so you are abreast of any visas that are due to expire during the tenancy.
The best time to gather this information is of course at the start of the tenancy. Arthur Online can help here too, with customisable online applicant forms you can set questions for all prospective tenants, including information requests. Tenants can reply online and all data is then automatically saved on the system.
At the beginning of every tenancy, landlords must supply tenants with a written statement of the terms of occupation to be compliant, a record of this can be stored online. Tenancy contracts can be automated and signed digitally via Arthur Online’s integration with digital signature provider Signable and the “How to Rent” booklet, which must be given to tenants at the start of their tenancy, can also be sent to tenants using the platform.
At the beginning of every tenancy, you are required by law to secure your tenants deposits in one of the UK’s three tenancy deposit protection schemes; deposits must be registered within 30 days of receipt. Nowadays, landlord software like Arthur Online can record this information and send you an alert if a deposit is un-registered, if you manage more than just a few tenancies this can easily be overlooked and you not realise that you’re not compliant.
All tenancies that began after 1st April 2018 are required to have a minimum EPC rating of E (all existing tenancies will have to comply by 1st April 2020).
It’s also important for landlords to check the date of the last EPC as they are only valid for 10 years, and a valid EPC is needed each time a property is marketed to let.
In addition to EPCs, the Gas Safety Regulations of 1998 require landlords to maintain all gas appliances, pipe work and flues in a safe condition. An annual gas safety inspection must be carried out by a Gas Safe registered engineer who will issue a Gas Safety Certificate as proof of the inspection.
Gas Safety Certificates and EPCs with their respective dates can be safely stored in the cloud and matched to the relevant property with Arthur Online. The property management software will also notify you and your team of any expiring certificates and even automatically assign a check to be carried out by your chosen gas safety expert.
As of 2018 at least 70 councils have introduced schemes that add to the standard mandatory landlord licensing. Some councils require landlords to have a landlord license but then again, many councils don’t. You can of course continue to manually check council websites and hope you don’t get caught out by sudden changes in regulation, alternatively, you can use GetRentr to ensure your entire portfolio has the right licenses at any given time.
- keep your rented properties safe and free from health hazards
- make sure all gas and electrical equipment is safely installed and maintained
- provide an Energy Performance Certificate for the property
- protect your tenant’s deposit in a government-approved scheme
- check your tenant has the right to rent your property if it’s in England
- give your tenant a copy of the How to rent checklist when they start renting from you (you can email it to them)